Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Taste, nations and strangers : a socio-cultural history of national art galleries, with particular reference to Scotland
Author: Prior, Nick
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
In the register of a socio-cultural history this thesis attempts to unpick relations between the nation-state, class and politics as they interface with artistic and exhibitionary forms in the context of modern European, English and Scottish history. Beginning with a broad cultural history of national art museums in Europe and England, the thesis moves to a more focused socio-genesis of the National Gallery of Scotland and Edinburgh's art field, based on primary archive data. As ambiguous and double-coded spaces, national art museums emerged to cater for shifts in the structure of governance, stripping away older vertiges of monarchical or aristocratic grandeur under the aegis of the "nation", while symbolically purifying themselves of "lower" historical tendencies in the act of distinction. This happened at different speeds and according to different socio-cultural conditions in the three cases presented. The National Gallery of Scotland, it is shown, grew on the fissured terrain that was British history. Its presence threw into relief centuries of poverty, uncertainty and political dislocation, emerging as a symbol of civic and national well-being, bourgeois confidence and increasing state guidance. It grew on the fertile soil of enlightenment and Scottish civil society, later reconfigured in the context of early Victorian self-reliance, and fuelled both by romanticism and class conflict. It was the summation of pointed struggles for recognition amongst a modern group of artists, the Royal Scottish Academy, whose claims to space, coupled with a desire for autonomy, placed an incendiary in the art field. By foregrounding questions of nationhood, class and ideology, the thesis chronicles a history of prohibitions as well as invitations, tracing specific histories of institutional control and attempting to reveal how the National Gallery of Scotland's internal space - its architecture, decor, collection and codes of conduct - signalled its genesis in civic refinement, professional distinction and artistic modernisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available